Drivers who switch to a manual transmission after years of driving an automatic one, often have problems adjusting to this well-forgotten (or never really learned?) manual way of operating their car. Many of such drivers experience numerous cases of stalling during the break-in stage, which causes their concern.
Could the stalling really initiate any internal car damage leading to, say, premature ” aging”, wear, or loss of performance of the car? How critical is it to avoid stalling and lugging the engine and slipping the clutch during the break-in period?
Actually, occasional stalling of the engine from hesitant clutch work of the driver is not much to worry about. Drivers who are switching to a manual transmission soon relearn both their skills in that sphere and the subtleties of the stick shift, and eventually stop stalling the engine of their car. While it is better to avoid the stall’s sudden stop, it really does not subject the engine to any substantial loads. The worst of it might be felt by the sprockets, tensioners and the timing chain, but, still, the odd stall will not harm any of those.
Sometimes an occasional stalling can set off a “check engine” warning light – an unpleasant experience for the driver who might immediately think that his stalling the engine due to the clumsy clutch switching has caused his car lots of harm. However, nothing serious has occurred – the warning light often sets off because of misinterpretation of the information by the emissions-control diagnostic system. The light usually goes down after several restarts.
In practice, stalling is preferred to slipping the clutch. Slipping usually generates overheating and might cause excessive wear and hot spots on the pressure plate and the flywheel, which, in its turn, is potentially dangerous as it tends to yield grabby clutch action thereafter. For the same reason, it is not recommended that you hold the car on the hill with the clutch.
Lugging the powertrain is not a good thing, either, as it puts high loads on the gear teeth and shafts in the transmission.